Chapter XXVII: Beauty or a Beast

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Her song of terror sent searing pain up and down his spine. That pain manifested in one of his legs. It was paralyzed beneath him. He grimaced and slammed his leg with his fist, attempting some percussive maintenance, he felt nothing.  He pushed forward, despite the leg dragging uselessly through the bramble beneath him. He knew he was close. He had to push through it. He had to get to her. He had to help her. She had suffered enough at the hands of one man. He could not allow the viper to harm her.

Apollo was rewarded for his efforts. Just ahead, through tightly clustered trees, he caught a glimpse of her iridescent scales. He smiled to himself despite the salty sweat that stung his eyes and now poured down his cheeks. He grabbed at one of the branches and in one last heroic effort, he latched onto the branches and dragged himself through.

His sense of victory was short-lived. He was in the glade, but he was exposed and essentially blind. He crept through the treeline into the clearing. He was careful not to look up. He knew her location so he kept his back to her. He was guided only by her reflection in his dagger. He cursed aloud at his own stupidity and negligence. 

"Apollo?" She called through a har stuttered controlled by her tears.

"Your song should never know sorrow, my heart." It slew his heart to even hear her tears.

"You cannot understand the nature of my song, do not pretend to do so." Her fierce response sent pain across his skin.

God whoever said love hurts must have met her. He winced under the pressure of her melody. He could do nothing to save her, he knew that. He had to help her save herself.

"You are right," The pressure lessened and he felt her love closer to him. Heard her voice turn to face him. She waited for an explanation.

He could hear the snake moving through the grass toward him. At that moment he accepted the very real possibility of death. "I know not what it is to face the symbol of evil, my love, but I do know what it is to face the evil that created you."

She laughed at him. It was a harsh and bitter sound. "The words of a Baird are littered with corruption."

Apollo's reputation was doing little to help him now. He was filled with regret for his impetuous history, "Then hear the words of a simpleton, with a simple past. I have seen the devil." He paused hoping she was listening, "in my own father."

"You can hardly relate the essence of evil to evil itself." She hissed. The venom on her flickering tongue struck him. He felt a piece of his ear harden, and prayed Hades knew of an antidote by now. Good job Apollo 'go 'chase a monster and a powerful zealot by yourself, stupid.  Apollo glared at a tree, it was unaffected by his anger.  His eyes settled back onto the dagger and redirected it to reflect Medusa and not the basilisk, Worth it.

Her body was curled up, contorted by fear. Her writhing snakes hissed furiously around her, almost as if they were heckling the basilisk. He gestured to where he believed the snake to be. "Evil is in perception, that is only an animal driven by hunger. It is you who gives it strength, by allowing what it represents to consume you." Apollo could feel when the snake turned back toward her. The writhing and diminutive sounds of its own kind acted as a lure.

He tilted the dagger feeling confident the snake had turned away from him, and felt his gut wrench, despite only being guided by its reflection he could discern the basilisk's massive size. Its body was thick and grey. As it moved trees shook in its wake. Dead grass followed its path.

Medusa screamed. Apollo released a slew of epithets, but was paralyzed by her song and could do nothing but speak. He sensed move just beyond the tree line, and then a massive crash. The sound seized his attention for a brief moment, but that moment even its brevity was enough to see the true power of the beast. A massive stag had unknowingly wandered into the clearing and upon making eye contact with the basilisk had collapsed. It was now consumed by the throws of death. Foam drifted out of the stag's mouth and its legs twitched even post-mortem.

An unwilling gulp choked its way down Apollo's throat. He felt his body shudder as the snake moved toward the stag. Medusa watched the serpent, distracted by her own fascination and fear, so Apollo slid his way through the tall grass. Once he reached her side he bravely rested a hand on her shoulder. "Look at that creature well beloved. That is not you."

"It is stronger than I," she whispered the tremor in her voice was unmistakable.

"It is not," he whispered. "You have art, elegance, and sentience. That is just a monster." SIlence ensued his words for several precious and agonizing minutes. He could not watch her, but as time passed he felt her body tense and her heart rate accelerate.

The silence was broken by her roar.  She charged the Basilisk, a song of terror and of victory controlled the glade. The Basilisk Froze. Its body vibrated under the paralysis. With a twitch of her wrist, Medusa sliced through the creature's neck. The sound of the blade squelched as it cut through the musculature of the creature.  It was in that moment that Apollo realized something even more terrifying than her sudden change in emotion. That was his dagger. His only protection against her.

Medusa remained silent for a long while watching the beast bleed into the forest floor. Coating everything in a dark and viscous red. "I am a monster" He watched her body turn towards him. Instinctively he ducked instinctively protecting his eyes.

"You cannot even look upon me, as that deer could not be spared neither shall you." She turned on him her fangs wide and outstretched her tongue tasted the air.

He gulped in what he believed to be his last breath. He was trapped between a rock and hard place. He was unable to look up if he did it would cost him his life;  yet, he knew that would be the only way to spare her. In his death, she would lose all hope of her humanity regardless of his sacrifice. His only hope was to appeal to the side that made her different the side that made her special.

"You are not a beast," he opened his own vocal cords and began to sing, in hopes of appealing to her on an equally primal level.

"I am a beast." He felt her bristle with anger, "I am a beast that speaks!"

The guttural roar of her words was cut off by a deadly thud. Apollo dared himself to look. On the side of her neck was a small dark. He recognized it. It had the colors of the S.S. Olympus on it.

He looked up and smiled. In the center of the glade was a dark-haired green-skinned beauty. His sister was home.

"Baby brother you sure can pick them!" She smiled and strode over to him her eyes never left Medusa's unconscious body.

He smiled back at her. "I like my women with a bit of bite."

[A/N] Thank you for reading!

Not a lot of facts with this mostly its made up of theories.

Many people like to pair medusa against the basilisk just to see who would win. The basilisk is a deadly and large mythological viper. It is known to kill people with a single look. (my theory is it came from a spitting cobra). If looks could kill. . . am I right?  Okay, I am sorry I had to say it.

Whereas Medusa does not kill she paralyzes. I also had someone bring up that often the Basilisk reminds medusa of the more beastly side of herself. Keeping in mind her origin (the slithery side) in many stories it is actually a curse; not who she is. So it is especially traumatic for her. Often resulting in her becoming more of a monster.

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